Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 3 - The Road to Page



It was rainsuits on (Can you see the pattern here?) as we left Tusayan for Page via the Grand Canyon south rim route, highway 64. This route brings you back into the park and offers numerous pull-offs to stop and view the canyon from different vantage points. We made use of most of them. The canyon continued to awe, especially as it would disappear and then reappear as storm clouds moved through. While the inclement weather may have been inconvenient a park ranger expressed it best when he said these conditions were "special" in terms of seeing the canyon. (As a side benefit there were fewer people crowding the viewing locations.)



By the time we reached the tower at Desert View the rains had stopped except for a periodic sprinkle and stayed that way for the rest of the day.
The tower at Desert View is a man-made 70-foot tower on the edge of the canyon. Not sure that 70 feet adds much in terms of a vantage point when you’re already a mile above the canyon floor but clearly someone did. Regardless, it’s worth a quick stop to climb to the top and see for yourself.


 From Desert View the road quickly drops to the canyon floor offering yet another perspective on the canyon and environs. The loss of elevation is quite dramatic along the Little Colorado River Gorge until you reach Hwy 89 heading north to Page. By now you are in the Navajo Indian Reservation which, for those of you who care about such things, is dry, meaning no alcohol is sold or served on their lands. In other words, if you want a beer in your hotel that night, better stock up in Page (just outside the reserve).
Last February a portion of Hwy 89 up near Page collapsed and that highway is closed until further notice. So we had to detour further east and back-track along Hwy 98. It added quite a few miles to the day but it was still a beautiful ride through a gorgeous countryside. Very desolate though with few signs of life and no services anywhere along the route.  We found this to be the case throughout the area and so took every opportunity to gas up and take a pit stop. (There aren’t a lot of trees for the ladies to hide behind out here either.)
Approaching Page we were sure we were going to get a final soaking as a huge storm spanned the horizon in front of us, but every time we seemed to be getting close the road would veer off in another direction and we’d gain a few more miles. We checked into our hotel about 30 minutes before a severe weather warning was put on for the area and the storm finally hit just as we were comfortably having dinner in a local Italian food joint.
After it passed we picked up supplies for the following night (see comment above re dry) and headed back to our rooms. Tomorrow was going to be another full day so an early start was called for.

8 comments:

  1. More spectacular views. I love visiting the southwest. That tower does seem to be a real oddity. Sometimes you wonder what folks are thinking...

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  2. Canajun:

    I hope that the weather did not dampen your enthusiasm. The Canyon is spectacular and storms make your photos more dramatic and special.

    We were in the area during a November and we were caught in several snow storms in Bryce and Zion NP

    I hope that the rain stops soon. Would be nice to have a dry day for a change

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. Bob - Being wet is no fun, as you know, but you're right, the images are more dramatic. All in ll the rain has been an irritant, nothing more really.

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  3. Glad you were able to chase away those rain clouds.

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  4. Good pics of the canyon, someday I hope to see the North Rim side....

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    1. Thanks. I wonder if it would be much different.

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